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  • Is it OK to have pill bugs in your compost?

    Created by Dee Gustavson on

    I have several types of compost styles. I have so many rolly pollies in my tumbling above-ground compost bin and simple compost pile, as compared to my bins*, which mainly have worms. Is there something I can do to reduce the rolly pollies in my tumbler and pile?

    *My bins are about 3x3x3 and open on bottom.

  • Author
  • #297699

    Eric Vinje

    Hi Dee –

    A vast array of insects, arthropods, beetles, snails, slugs and worms inhabit cool compost piles. Most of these creatures cannot tolerate the high temperatures of a hot pile. As the pile heats up, they retreat to its edges or downwards into the soil beneath. As it cools, they move back in and start performing their functions.

    Pill bugs — also called roly polies — feed primarily on decaying plant matter and are important in the decomposition process. They prefer dark, damp locations and are common in most compost piles/ bins where they can break down organic materials very quickly. Roly polies help speed the compost process along and are often encouraged for this purpose.

    Note: These tiny crustaceans do not bite or sting and rarely damage living plants, providing there is enough decaying material for them to eat. However, if present in large numbers they may also feed on seedlings, new roots, lower leaves and fruits or vegetables laying directly on the soil. Learn how to control roly-poly bugs using proven, organic techniques here.

    Hope it helps!


    samuel woods

    Yes, it is ok to have pill bugs in your compost.
    You will flip your pile inside out once per week. This does not ought to be something major, merely shovel the outer portion of the pile towards the center. Continue this cycle until the fresh compost is exposed.

    This way, all the useful organisms will have an opportunity to consume all of the pile’s ingredients. If your pile heats up, gets wet and gets turned often, you must have dark, and rich in nitrogen compost in a time period of 30 to 60 days.

    I’m sure it will help you in your home garden



    Yes it is okay! Just like using worms in your compost, roly polies are perfectly fine to have in your compost pile. Just like others have said before, as the pile heats up they’ll retreat to the edges as they don’t like the heat.

    However, with that being said, make sure it’s not an infestation of them. If that’s the case, there might be a problem, but I doubt this is your experience.

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